Now Pharaoh was near when the Israelites looked up and saw that the Egyptians had set out after them. Greatly frightened, the Israelites cried out to the LORD. To Moses they said, “Were there no burial places in Egypt that you brought us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? Far better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. (Exodus 14:10-12)
In the verses above, the Hebrews have just escaped 400 years of slavery and the Egyptian army is now in hot pursuit. Fear and attachment to their past lives cause them to desire a life of misery and slavery over following the will of God and life in the promised land. In a moment of weakness they choose a brutal dictatorship and a life of torment over joy in the land of “milk and honey.”
Reflecting on these verses causes one to pause and contemplate our current times. How often do we choose a life of slavery to our earthly attachments as opposed to a life focused on eternal joy with God? Like the young man who asks Jesus how to gain eternal life, we regularly choose our present situation as opposed to following Him.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:21-22)
The word “possessions” from this verse can represent numerous attachments. In our world, going all the way back to Adam and Eve, there is the prevalence of an attachment to the flesh. Today, this has shown its ugly face in a Culture of Lust and a Culture of Materialism. Like the Hebrews in the desert, time and again we choose that which is detrimental to our eternal well being over the temporary discomfort that comes with the positive changes Christ brings into our lives.
If we are honest with ourselves, we must ask:
- Are we choosing money and possessions over God?
- Do we choose pornography over holiness?
- Are we so hardened to the reality of our current times that we cannot recognize immorality when we see it?
- Do we choose to “support” sinful behavior and reject the teachings of Christ as a result?
- Do material acquisitions cause money stress in our homes and disturb our peace?
- Are we blind to immodesty?
These are all reasonable questions. An answer of yes to one of these questions should cause us to reflect and make amends to our lives. Serious change is a scary proposition. Christ is the answer.
The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s army, now moved and went around behind them. And the column of cloud, moving from in front of them, took up its place behind them, so that it came between the Egyptian army and that of Israel. And when it became dark, the cloud illumined the night; and so the rival camps did not come any closer together all night long. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove back the sea with a strong east wind all night long and turned the sea into dry ground. The waters were split, so that the Israelites entered into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water as a wall to their right and to their left. (Exodus 14:19-22)
God’s desire is to become the column of a cloud in our lives to block out fear and sin. He will part the Red Sea for us and lead us to the land of milk and honey, but we must choose to cry out to him for help. He is a merciful God, yet He will not force Himself on us. We must choose each day and He will do the rest of the work.
God is good.
JMJ, pray for us.